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Alfred Allen Paul Curtis

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Alfred Allen Paul Curtis (July 4, 1831—July 11, 1908) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Wilmington (1886-1896) and Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore (1897-1908).


Alfred Curtis was born near Rehobeth in Somerset County, Maryland, to Episcopalian parents.[1] He attended the country school his father had founded, but taught himself Latin, Greek, and Shakespeare.[2] Following his father's death in 1849, he became an assistant teacher at an academy in Princess Anne to support his mother and siblings.[2] He began studying for the ministry in 1855, and was ordained a deacon in 1856 and afterwards a priest in 1859.[2] He then worked as an assistant at St. Luke's Church in Baltimore, from where he was transferred to Frederick County and then to Chestertown, Kent County.[2]

In 1862 he was elected rector of Mount Calvary Church in Baltimore.[2] He gradually became more Catholic in his beliefs and practices, to the dismay of Bishop William Rollinson Whittingham.[2] He eventually resigned as rector in 1871 and then went to England, where he was received into the Catholic Church by Dr. John Henry Newman on May 18, 1872.[1] [3] Curtis returned to Baltimore later that year, entering St. Mary's Seminary.[1] He was ordained a Catholic priest by Archbishop James Roosevelt Bayley on December 19, 1874.[3] He then served as Archbishop Bayley's private secretary and an assistant at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen.[2] (Please review where he served; Cathedral of Mary Our Queen didn't exist until the 1950s.)

On August 3, 1886, Curits was appointed the second Bishop of Wilmington, Delaware, by Pope Leo XIII.[3] He received his episcopal consecration on the following November 14 from Cardinal James Gibbons, with Bishops John Moore and John Joseph Kain serving as co-consecrators, in Baltimore.[3] He was installed at St. Peter's Cathedral in Wilmington on November 21, 1886.[3] During his tenure, he introduced the Josephite Fathers into the diocese to minister to African American Catholics, for whom he also built St. Joseph Church, an orphanage, and a parochial school.[4] He also erected a cloistered convent for the Sisters of the Visitation.[1]

After ten years as bishop, Curtis resigned due to poor health on May 23, 1896; he was appointed Titular Bishop of Echinus on the same date.[3] He left the diocese with 25,000 Catholics, thirty priests, twenty-two churches and eighteen missions, twelve seminarians, eight religious communities, three academies, nine parochial schools, and three orphanages.[4] He became an auxiliary bishop of Baltimore in 1897, and assisted Cardinal Gibbons with performing ordinations and confirmations.[2] He later died from cancer at St. Agnes Hospital, aged 77.[2] At his own request, his remains were buried at Visitation Monastery in Wilmington.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "Diocese of Wilmington". Catholic Encyclopedia. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 The Sisters of the Visitation of Wilmington (1913). The Life and Characteristics of Right Reverend Alfred A. Curtis, D.D.. New York: P.J. Kenedy & Sons. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 "Bishop Alfred Allen Paul Curtis". 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "A Brief History of the Diocese of Wilmington". Roman Catholic Diocese of Wilmington. 

Preceded by
Thomas Albert Andrew Becker
Bishop of Wilmington
Succeeded by
John James Joseph Monaghan

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